30 May 2014

Malawi's High Court Set to Rule on Disputed Election

Malawi's High Court is set to rule Friday on whether last week's disputed election results should be made public or a recount should be held.

The May 20 general election was plagued with problems, including polling stations opening late and inaccuracies on election ballots. The problems prompted the election commission to extend voting a second day, and then a third day in some areas.

President Joyce Banda claims the election was rife with fraud, including ballot rigging and people voting more than once.

She ordered a new election within 90 days and said she would not be a candidate. However, the High Court overruled her when the main opposition party complained.

Banda is facing 11 challengers in the presidential election.

The election commission released partial results that showed her trailing opposition leader Peter Mutharika, the brother of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika. Another unofficial count indicated she was even further behind.

On Thursday, Banda told Reuters she was ready to step down if the court ratified the election and her opponent, Mutharika, turned out to be the winner.

However, she said, she still believed the election was fraudulent.

Banda ascended from vice president to become head of state two years ago, after the death of longtime President Mutharika.

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